Call it love. Call it protectiveness. Call it being there. Whatever you call it, there’s a special power that comes with being a dad, and the working fathers of PEC know it. Whether they’re on the front lines serving our members or up in the lines restoring electricity after storms, these hardworking heroes know what it is to have one foot in the home and one on the job and the challenges of making it all work.
“Before the kids, I tried to work as much as I could,” PEC Journeyworker Bart Schooley said. “My biggest challenge is knowing when to go help my fellow linemen and when to spend time with my kids. Whenever your kids start saying, ‘I don’t want you to go,’ then you have to start reevaluating how much time you’re spending at work or at home.”
PEC Project Manager Brady Porter also feels the tug between work and home. “I want to be around my son, Hayes, all the time,” he said.
“He is 9 months old and seemingly always on the verge of a milestone. Every day has a discovery. I also find value with my position at PEC — I’m still learning to balance those two needs.”
The five fathers shared the grab-bag of resources they rely on for balance: supportive spouses, the photos of children they keep tucked into their wallets, the long commutes home that serve double-duty as decompression and quiet time. But all circled back to the same core motivator: pride in their ability to be providers and role models.
“My work gives me an opportunity to model a strong and healthy work ethic for my children,” PEC Member Services Supervisor Jorge Villegas said. “My hope is that my wife and I can inspire our children to grow up to be happy, productive and responsible adults.”
PEC Equipment Operator 2 Floyd Johnson agreed, recalling his own dad as he defined his sense of fatherhood: “I grew up with a military father,” he said. “He was soft-spoken, but his words meant business. He taught me at a young age that nothing was handed to you. In this life, you have to work hard and often make sacrifices. I often find myself walking in my father’s footsteps. My greatest purpose is to teach my daughter that in spite of her daily challenges, she can do anything she sets her mind to.”
On the job
The fathers shared their appreciation for PEC as a family-friendly company, with understanding upper management and positions that offer flexible schedules. More than anything, though, they circled back to the caring community.
“My coworkers genuinely care about my family,” PEC Project Manager Dennis Brown noted. “They do. They honestly care about my children. It’s not something I’ve ever experienced anywhere else I’d worked. They’re sort of an extended support system — an extended family, in a sense.”
Johnson, a 20-year PEC veteran, agreed. “My coworkers are always there when I need them through any trials and tribulations,” he said.
Wisdom for the next generation
When asked what advice he’d give a younger coworker on the brink of fatherhood, Brown laughed. “Practice sleeping in two-hour shifts,” he said. “Seriously. You will not regret it.”
Villegas urged young fathers to have faith in themselves and to not be afraid. “I believe that you can balance your career and life as long as you commit to what you want to do and consistently put in effort needed to accomplish it,” he said.
And in the end, it’s all worth it.
No matter how stressful his days now, Porter finds that spending just 30 minutes with his 9-month-old son on his play mat is as refreshing as a day at the beach.
“‘Me time’ is now ‘he time,’” Porter said. “And I’m happy to be there for him. I never anticipated just how rewarding parenthood is.”
“Fatherhood is everything to me,” Schooley concluded. “It’s why I work as hard as I do.”